Eater
OwnerVox Media
Independent
URLeater.com
LaunchedJuly 2005; 18 years ago (2005-07)[1]

Eater is a food website by Vox Media. It was co-founded by Lockhart Steele and Ben Leventhal in 2005, and originally focused on dining and nightlife in New York City. Eater launched a national site in 2009, and covered nearly 20 cities by 2012. Vox Media acquired Eater, along with two others comprising the Curbed Network, in late 2013. In 2017, Eater had around 25 local sites in the United States, Canada, and England. The site has been recognized twelve times by the James Beard Foundation Awards.

Description and history

The food and dining site Eater is a brand of the digital media company Vox Media.[2][3] It serves as a local restaurant guide, offering reviews as well as news about the restaurant industry.[4][5] The property earns revenue via advertising, sometimes displaying content generated by Vox Creative.[6]

Eater was co-founded by Lockhart Steele and Ben Leventhal in July 2005,[3][7] and initially focused on New York City's dining and nightlife scenes.[8] The blog was one of three comprising the Curbed Network, founded by Steele in 2004,[9] along with the real estate and fashion networks called Curbed and Racked, respectively. By 2007, Eater was receiving tens of thousands of readers per day.[1] After expanding into Los Angeles and San Francisco,[1][10] the network went national in 2009,[8] and covered approximately 20 cities and one U.S. state (Maine) by mid 2012.[11][12]

Vox Media purchased the Curbed Network for approximately US$30 million in November 2013.[2][13][14] Traffic to Eater increased by 250 percent following the acquisition.[15] In early 2014, Business Insider reported that Eater was generating approximately 2 million of Vox Media's 45 million unique monthly visitors, according to the analytics company comScore.[5] The site began using Vox Media's content management system, Chorus, and producing more video content.[3][15] Steele said he sold Eater partly to observe Chorus' influence on the site. The platform allows Eater to enhance map, journalistic, and visual features, and improves user engagement via forums.[15]

In mid 2017, Eater launched a London site, the network's first outside North America. Eater hosted 23 sites for cities in the United States and Canada at the time.[16]

In 2021, Vox Media acquired drinks website Punch as a brand within Eater.[17]

Programming

Eater may be best known for its maps, which serve as guides to readers on where to eat in specific cities. In 2022, Eater launched their Eater 38 maps, which share 38 essential restaurants in each Eater cities. Other Eater maps include Eater heatmaps which spotlight the newest restaurants in cities; as well as maps focused on certain cuisines or certain neighborhoods. The majority of Eater maps showcase restaurants across the 23 US cities for which it has dedicated sites, but there are also maps identifying the best restaurants in popular national and international destinations including St. Louis, Honolulu, Kansas City, Barcelona, Rome, Paris, Tokyo, and Florence.

In addition to written content, Eater has a team devoted to video. The site produced a web series called Savvy, which featured chefs, restaurateurs, and sommeliers discussing dishes and cooking techniques. The program's second season aired in 2015. In 2017, Vox Media greenlit the series Cult Following and You Can Do This for Eater.Eater’s video program is currently focused on mid-form docu-style video, with series such as Mise en Place, The Experts, Smoke Point, and Vendors. The program has earned five New York Emmy awards, including two for Vendors (one in 2022, another in 2021), and four Daytime Emmy nominations.

Eater and PBS collaborated on a six-episode documentary television show about the cuisine of immigrant neighborhoods throughout the U.S., hosted by chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson. The show, No Passport Required, marked Eater's first television production project. Vox Entertainment produced the show, which premiered in July 2018. Vox Media executives Jim Bankoff and Marty Moe serve as two of several executive producers.

In January 2018, Eater and SB Nation aired an online three-episode celebrity cooking competition series sponsored by PepsiCo. The show featured National Football League players Greg Jennings, Rashad Jennings, and Nick Mangold as competitors, as well as chefs Anne Burrell and Josh Capon.

In 2020, Eater debuted its first TV series in partnership with Hulu, Eater’s Guide to the World. The seven-episode show was hosted by Maya Rudolph and explored unique dining experiences across the world, with episodes spotlighting Los Angeles, Costa Rica, Casablanca, and more.

Eater has a robust digital footprint and presence across the most influential social platforms, including Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook, reaching over 30 million people a month across digital platforms.

In 2022, Eater announced its first book deal in partnership with Abrams publishing. Eater is slated to release a line of books, including a cookbook publishing in 2023 featuring restaurant recipes, edited by Eater restaurant editor Hillary Dixler Canavan, and travel guides to New York City and Los Angeles, publishing in 2024.

Leadership and editorial staff

Eater was initially led by co-founders Leventhal and Steele, who had the titles "Head Eater" and CEO, respectively.[8][13] Steele, who also served as president of the Curbed Network,[8] ranked number 34 in The Daily Meal's 2011 list of "America's 50 Most Powerful People in Food", for his role as a founder of Eater.[4]

In 2014, Amanda Kludt was named Eater's first editor-in-chief,[3][18] and Robert Sietsema was hired to be a New York-based food writer.[5][15]

In March 2022, Stephanie Wu became Eater’s second-ever editor-in-chief, succeeding Amanda Kludt. Kludt is now the group publisher of the lifestyle publications at Vox Media, comprising Eater, POPSUGAR, Punch, and Thrillist.

Reception

Food & Wine has called Eater "required reading".[1] In 2006, the magazine included Steele and Leventhal in their "Tastemaker Awards" list, recognizing fifteen people who had significant impact on the food and wine industries by age 35, for their "ingenious" posts.[10]

The network's content has been recognized twelve times by the James Beard Foundation Awards, established to honor excellence in cuisine, food writing, and culinary education in the United States.[19][20] Eater has also won six awards from American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) and five Emmys. On the local level, various Eater cities have been recognized by local chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists including the SPJ Northwest, SPJ Chicago, and SPJ DC as well as the New York Press Club and Los Angeles Press Club.

Eater has also popped up in popular culture, cited in TV shows such as The Bear and The Morning Show.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d Goldman, Adam (January 12, 2007). "Blog Wields Power in Restaurant World". The Washington Post. Associated Press. ISSN 0190-8286. OCLC 2269358. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Hempel, Jessi (November 11, 2013). "Vox Media acquires Curbed Network for $20-30M". Fortune. Meredith Corporation. ISSN 0015-8259. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Bhuiyan, Johana (April 16, 2014). "Food site Eater 'Vox-ifies'". Politico. Capitol News Company. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "America's 50 Most Powerful People in Food for 2011". The Daily Meal. Spanfeller Media Group. 2011. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Shontell, Alyson (March 13, 2014). "Vox CEO: Here's How We're Able to Get Tons of Traffic Without Gaming Facebook". Business Insider. Axel Springer SE. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  6. ^ Main, Sami (October 26, 2017). "Why Capital One Chose Vox Creative to Promote Its New Credit Card". Adweek. Beringer Capital. ISSN 0199-2864. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  7. ^ Oppenheimer, Mark (March 19, 2010). "The Optimist's Blogger". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. OCLC 1645522. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d Druckman, Charlotte (October 6, 2009). "The Insiders: Ben Leventhal and Lockhart Steele". The New York Times. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  9. ^ Grant, Drew (November 12, 2013). "Lockhart Steele Curbs His Enthusiasm". Observer. Observer Media. ISSN 0029-7712. OCLC 50230244. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Krader, Kate; Tep, Ratha (November 1, 2006). "'06 Tastemaker Awards". Food & Wine. Meredith Corporation. ISSN 0741-9015. Archived from the original on July 13, 2018. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  11. ^ Midson, Lori (December 1, 2011). "Eater launches Denver food site". Westword. Voice Media Group. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  12. ^ Goad, Meredith (June 13, 2012). "Now posting: Eater.com's new Maine restaurant blog". Portland Press Herald. MaineToday Media. OCLC 9341113. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  13. ^ a b Sternberg, Josh (November 13, 2013). "Why Lockhart Steele Sold Curbed to Vox". Digiday. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  14. ^ Spangler, Todd (October 31, 2017). "PBS Picks Up Marcus Samuelsson Food and Culture Docu-Series from Vox Media's Eater". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. ISSN 0042-2738. OCLC 810134503. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  15. ^ a b c d Castillo, Michelle (September 22, 2014). "Eater's Redesign Is a Test for Vox Media's Chorus Platform". Adweek. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  16. ^ Guaglione, Sara (July 12, 2017). "Vox Launches 'Eater London,' Company's First". MediaPost Communications. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  17. ^ "Vox Media acquires cocktail media brand "Punch"". August 23, 2021.
  18. ^ Vora, Shivani (February 2, 2018). "How Amanda Kludt, Editor in Chief of Eater, Spends Her Sundays". The New York Times. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  19. ^ Rudulph, Heather Wood (October 31, 2016). "Get That Life: How I Became the Editor-in-Chief of Eater". Cosmopolitan. Hearst Communications. ISSN 0010-9541. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  20. ^ James Beard Foundation Awards: * "The 2015 James Beard Award Winners!". James Beard Foundation. May 4, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2018. * "The 2016 James Beard Award Winners!". James Beard Foundation. May 2, 2016. Retrieved April 9, 2018.